<p>As the Alpert Medical School moves ahead with plans for a new dual-degree program in medicine and population health, a new five-year grant from the American Medical Association helps advance the idea. The new program is to begin in the fall of 2015.</p>

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University is moving forward with plans to create a novel M.D./Sc.M. program in primary care and population health for 24 students a year beginning in the fall of 2015. Among the new developments is a $1-million grant from the American Medical Association.

The school announced in January that it was formulating such a program to help develop physicians who, with training focused on public health, can be future leaders in community-based primary care. As part of their education in the new program, for example, third-year students will engage in long-term primary care clerkships with patient populations, rather than rotating every six weeks through clerkships of various specialties at different hospitals.

“The goal is to educate a new type of physician leader with a primary care background and the skills to promote the health of the population they serve,” said Dr. Phil Gruppuso, associate dean for medical education. “The course of study will emphasize teamwork and leadership, population science, and behavioral and social medicine.”

Since January faculty members and administrators have continued to develop and solidify plans for the program, said Dr. Jeffrey Borkan, chair of the Department of Family Medicine and assistant dean in charge of developing the new program. During that process the school has also reached out to begin forging agreements with key clinical partners and has consulted with the program’s advisory council.

On June 14 the program also received an important new source of support: a grant of $200,000 a year for each of the next five years from the AMA as part of its of its Accelerating Change in Medical Education initiative. Brown was one of 11 schools to earn a grant out of 119 that applied.

“The funds will be used for planning, piloting, creating an admissions process, and evaluation,” said Borkan. “A major part of the AMA grant is [also] involvement in a cutting-edge consortium around accelerating change in medical education.”

There is still plenty more work to do between now and 2015, Borkan said, including application for accreditation to the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, creation of the new master’s degree program, curriculum design, and forging specific agreements with key partners, departments, and Brown-affiliated health systems.